Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Leila Simona Talani and Simon McMahon
Chapter 15: Neoliberal restructuring, forced migration and unprotected work in a globalising Cairo: a critical international political economy perspective
This chapter departs from much existing literature, which considers migration to be a consequence of globalisation. It is instead inspired by the work of a less prominent part of the scholarly community in migration studies (Glick Schiller and Ca_lar 2009; Castles 2010, 2013), which contends that migration is an integral part of the process of transnational integration that has spanned the globe over the past four decades. In other words, I do not think that globalisation causes increased migration, but rather that globalisation is, among other things, increased migration. While this might at first seem an exercise in academic nitpicking, it has wide-ranging implications for how we study migration as well as for how effective migration policies might be designed. In order to understand also the policy preconditions for the current wave of migration, it is necessary to problematise the very concept of globalisation, which is understood by a rather sizeable literature as an essentially exogenous process, triggered by technological transformations to which agents must adapt (Talani 2014). By referring to a seemingly inescapable logic of economic compulsion, this understanding of globalisation as a ‘process without a subject’ tends to obfuscate the key role that political decisions have had in creating and pursuing the path of global economic restructuring undertaken since the late 1970s (Hay 2002).
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